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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Bay school district warns teachers against improper relations with students



Last fall, a Bay County teacher fathered a child with an 18-year-old recent graduate who had not been in any of his classes, or even at his school. The girl was already 18 at the time of their relationship, and there was nothing in district policy to prevent it.

The connection didn't sit well with Bay superintendent Bill Husfelt. So now he's proposing a policy that would ban teachers from having sexual relationships with students, regardless of the students' age and the school they attend.

“No one knew anything about a relationship between a staff member and an of-age student at another school until after,” Husfelt told the Panama City News Herald. “If we were to fire somebody in that kind of situation, they could take us to court and say, ‘you didn’t tell us we couldn’t do that.’ So, we are making sure that we are putting a policy in place so that we know from now on that kind of thing cannot happen. It’s to protect students.”

The district also is promoting a new policy regulating employee use of social media, in part because of interactions with students that could be deemed inappropriate.

We have seen instances in the past where teachers have been called to the carpet by their districts for doing things considered perfectly legal, yet not viewed as professional or condoned by their schools. How far is too far? 

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 6:20am]


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